Cheshire narrowboat canal routes offer some of the most beautiful and picturesque scenery in the UK.

Departing the beautiful surroundings of Barbridge your starting point will be the Middlewich branch of the Shropshire Union canal. The main line runs for approx 66.5 miles. The Middlewich Branch spans 10 miles with 4 locks, with The River Dee Branch coming in at 0.25 miles with 3 locks.

There is also a Newport Branch that is currently derelict but under restoration.


The Four Counties Ring, shown on the map below in red, is a wonderful starting point for your canal holiday, it includes the Staff & Worcs canal, the Trent & Mersey canal and enables connections with the Cheshire Ring and the lock free Bridgewater canal, often called Britains first canal.

You could, of course, head to the Llangollen canal to cross the world famous Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. Even Harrison Ford has done it.



Here are a few of our favourite places of interest to see

Anderton Boat Lift

This amazing feet of engineering spans a 50ft vertical link between the River Weaver and the Trent & Mersey Canal. Built in 1875 it is one of only two working boat lifts in the UK. It’s also the site of a splendid visitor center.

Anderton Boat Lift - Narrowboat Canal Route

Harecastle Tunnel

The esteemed Thomas Telford is responsible for this marvel on the Trent & Mersey canal, between Kidsgrove and Tunstall.

The tunnel was completed in 1827 after 3 years of construction.

Modern journey times are around 40 minutes.

Barton Swing Aqueduct

This Grade II listed aqueduct, the first and only swing aqueduct in the world, carries the Bridgewater Canal across the Manchester Ship Canal! Built in 1894 and still going strong.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Yes, its on everyone’s bucket list but here it is an actually possibility. Marvel at some of the most stunning engineering in the world, built by Telford and Jessop. Dare you look down over the 18 stone arches. It is the longest aqueduct in and the highest canal aqueduct in the world, officially opening in 1805 and gaining UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2009.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct






Whichever route you choose we recommend checking online with The Canal River Trust website

The Canal River Trust keep us all up to date on closures and route availability. Sadly, canals sometimes need to be closed for emergency repairs or due to unforeseen weather conditions.


A selection of Nicholson Guide Canal Map books are provided onboard but it really is much more fun to plan out your route beforehand. Its very difficult for these books to stay up to date, so a little forward planning goes a long way to making the very most of your special trip.

Looking for an Escape with The Black Dog narrowboat?